The recipe index is under construction. It should be all set up by Monday. Maybe. Hopefully. It's a lot of work. Please send help. And cookies.

Monday, October 17, 2016

I'm on YouTube!

*small voice* Hi! Remember me? It's been a while! How are you? Enjoying fall? Eaten enough pumpkin spice everything yet? Enjoying spring if you're in the southern hemisphere?

I just wanted to write a quick post to let you know I've made some cooking videos and shared them on the YouTubes. Have you heard of ASMR? It's that soothing, tingling sensation you get on the back of your neck when you hear certain sounds. I never knew it had a name or that other people experienced it too. Not everybody does experience it, mind you. If you're one of the poor souls who doesn't get the tingly feeling then ASMR may seem stupid. Anyway, I've been watching ASMR videos on YouTube to help soothe the Anxiety Monster, and while they don't always work, it's nice when they do. My favorite ASMR videos are cooking videos. No whispers! ASMR whispers freak me out. So I decided to make a few of my own ASMR-friendly cooking videos until I lose interest in them. You know me. So far I've made eight videos.

Here is a little sampling.

There are a few more on my channel and I'll probably make a few more before I quit. Here's the link to my channel in case you'd like to subscribe or check it out.

Anyway, that's all the news I have. I hope you're well and doing whatever makes you happy.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Coconut Oil Suet Cakes

Greetings from the vestibule of my hermit hole! How is 2016 treating you? Marvelously, I hope. Are you staying warm? And are my southern hemisphere peeps staying cool? I've been hiding under my electric blanket with a cup of hot tea glued to my right hand whenever possible. My left hand has a firm grip on the remote control. Don't even try to pry it out of my frozen claw.

Coconut Oil Suet Cakes

Our poor little backyard birds have been having a rough cold week out there. How do they make it out there? They're so tiny and delicate! Our bird feeders have been extra busy these past couple of weeks. The woodpeckers love to eat those suet cakes that have bits of nuts and seeds and corn in them, but the ones that they sell at most wild bird supply stores or big retailers like Walmart are all made with beef fat. The reason I came out of my hermit hole today is to share a "recipe" for coconut oil "suet" cakes. These are not something we'd make all year round because coconut oil is expensive and we are not made of money, but also because it must be quite cold enough outside for the coconut oil to remain solid. I don't really measure the ingredients because it's basically just a bit of melted coconut oil with a lot of chunky goodies thrown in, but I did take notes and pictures when I was making this suet cake so I could share them with you in case you want to make some for your wild birds. Let's do this!

For one cake you will need about:

2.5oz (70g) coconut oil
1 heaping tbsp unsalted, natural peanut butter
2oz (60g) chopped unsalted nuts (they love peanuts and whatever nuts I may have from the bulk bins)
2oz (60g) cracked corn
1oz (30g) millet
about 1 tbsp cornmeal
about 1 tbsp oats

The instructions are quite simple. Gently melt the oil and the peanut butter together either in the microwave or over low heat in a saucepan. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir well. Done! You may need to use a bit more cornmeal and/or oats if you have too much soupy oil in your bowl. All the solid ingredients will sink to the bottom of the bowl or saucepan and you should have only a thin layer of oil at the top (see photo #3 below.) Now you just need to transfer it all into a mold that would be about the same size as your suet cake and refrigerate it until it's completely solidified. You can use unsalted seeds instead of corn or millet.

Coconut Oil Suet Cakes

Coconut Oil Suet CakesCoconut Oil Suet Cakes
Coconut Oil Suet CakesCoconut Oil Suet Cakes

From top to bottom and left to right:

  1. Ingredients, assemble!

  2. Melted coconut oil and peanut butter.

  3. Nuts and other goodies mixed into the oil/peanut butter mix.

  4. The "suet" cake ready to be refrigerated.

  5. Dinner is ready! That type of suet cage can be found in most wild bird food shops and massive retailers like Walmart.

Now let's see what the customers think of these cakes.

Coconut Oil Suet Cakes

Coconut Oil Suet Cakes

Coconut Oil Suet Cakes

Coconut Oil Suet Cakes

Coconut Oil Suet Cakes

Coconut Oil Suet Cakes

(Can't see the video of the woodpeckers enjoying their treat? Try this.)

I think they approve! I hope it helps keep their little bellies warm during the cold winter nights. The little Downy Woodpeckers and the larger Red-Bellied Woodpeckers love these. Unfortunately, the starlings love them too. Starlings will "Vashta Nerada"* these lickety-split. Our resident mocking bird has been eating these too, as well as our tiny little juncos and even the sparrows.

Alrighty then. I've done my damage here. Back to my hermit hole!

* If you're not a Doctor Who fan, that just means a swarm of starlings will devour them swiftly!

EDIT: Don't worry if you can't find those suet holders in your area, do what Starr does and use string to hang the suet cakes!